Story by Regis Mhako
THE government will this year focus on the procurement of tractors, combine harvesters and other farming machinery in addition to irrigation infrastructure development that will see hectarage under irrigation hitting the 350 000 markups from 187 000.
This was revealed by the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Fisheries and Rural Development, Dr Anxious Masuka at Taquin Farm in Hurungwe this Thursday during a crop assessment tour.
“ We are targeting to have 350 000 hectares under irrigation by 2025 from the current 187 000. We procured some 2 000 tractors last year and 1 300 of them are being distributed since last week through AFC and CBZ, 3 667 more tractors will be procured this year.’’
Host farmer, Mr Fidelis Muchenje, who has 52 hectares under maize welcomed the government’s mechanisation drive that is set to ensure farmers become efficient.
“My major worry is that I don’t have new tractors. I have three here at the farm but I bought them as second hand and they often break down,” he said.
Minister of State for Mashonaland West Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Honourable Mary Mliswa challenged farmers to be innovative and try by all means to source inputs in addition to what the government can provide.
“Sometimes you can get part of an incomplete set of inputs so it is your prerogative as farmers to supplement what you would have received through inputs support schemes,” she said.
Meanwhile, Mashonaland West Provincial Agronomist, Mrs Ciena Makaza has given an update on the hectarage put under some strategic crops in the province this summer cropping season.
“Our target for maize as a province was 360 000 hectares but as of December 31 we were at 40 percent. Tobacco is at 87 percent, while soya is at 62 percent,” she said.
Dr Masuka revealed that Mashonaland West province contributes 30 percent of the national maize output.